Driving back from leaving my daughter to pre-school this morning, I was behind a driver studiously keeping to 40 mph along the road. He was a careful driver but the problem was he was ignoring the many 50 mph signs. Even when the signs changed to 30mph he kept steady at 40 mph. Maybe he’d decided that keeping to a single speed was easier than taking account of the changes around him.
That got me thinking about communications channels and the growth of new social media platforms. If you’ve been successfully running your business for many years, keeping to the same speed, using the same methods of communicating with your customers old and new, then maybe you’re not looking for signs of what’s happening in the marketplace?
The signs are certainly there.
- Companies with a regularly updated blog on relevant subjects see, on average, 67% more
leads than those with no blog
- 69% of b2b marketers are already shifting budgets from traditional to social media
- 41% of b2b companies are acquiring customers on Facebook
- 86% of b2b companies and 82% of b2c companies are using social media
[Source: Richard Bagnall, Gorkana Group]
But maybe it’s all a flash in the pan? Surely customers still value the cold calls, the direct mail, the print advertising? Perhaps they do – these channels may still have a significant role to play for many businesses, but maybe its time to consider adding new channels to the marketing mix. Twenty years ago businesses were wondering if it was worth investing time and money in this new thing called the internet. Now it seems every business and organisation has a website and it is the first thing many prospective customers look for.
So, if you’re interested in learning more about the opportunities social media could offer your business, give us a call for a chat about the options. We’d love you to join our conversation.
Last week I was contacted by a journalist on a UK national newspaper for my views on the latest controversy to hit social networking site Facebook.
A small number of employees of some of our larger ‘high street’ retailers had been found to have made ‘rude’ comments about some of their customers on their Facebook walls. Employers had generally taken a stern line and, in some cases, sacked those employees involved. I was asked as an issues management ‘expert’ for my view on what companies should do.
This is an example of Human Resources and Corporate Comms failing to keep up with the latest ways people communicate. Facebook is used by people to keep in touch with family and friends. The problem arises when comments are made in writing which can be deemed offensive. In the past, employees could ‘let off steam’ by talking with their mates down the pub or over a coffee – now they can be lured by the ease of making a comment on Facebook or Twitter instead.
While the brand damage caused by a couple of drunken comments was, clearly, limited, exposure on sites such as these can leave companies open to criticism.
New rules need to be written about how much influence a company expects to have over its employees in their personal time and appropriate disciplinary action taken where necessary.
But, more importantly, companies should ask themselves why their employees feel the need to vent their frustrations on such sites. Is there something management could and should be doing to listen and act on such views before they become public? Perhaps a ‘Facebook-style’ forum on a company intranet, better communications channels to management or improved awareness of customer issues could all be explored.
It may be unrealistic to expect any company to effectively police its employees comments out of the workplace. But employees need to understand the consequences of making comments which could damage their employer’s reputation. And both groups need to work out ways to tackle the underlying issues which lead to such comments in the first place.